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Trove, Levenshulme, Reviewed

Lynda Moyo leaves roots in Levenshulme and tips at Trove

Written by . Published on August 21st 2013.


Trove, Levenshulme, Reviewed
 

YOU may be surprised to hear that Levenshulme is one of my favourite parts of Manchester. Not so much for what it is now, but for what it stood for then.

Located opposite another diamond in the rough, Levenshulme Antiques Village, Trove, much like my gran, knows how to appreciate the simple things in life.

By ‘then’, I’m referring to a period way before my time, all the way back to the start and end of the Second World War in fact, when my grandmother was growing up on Bowler Street, just off Stockport Road.

The picture she still paints so vividly of those times, is one of both hardship and camaraderie. The community didn’t have much, but they had each other. From the butcher, to the greengrocer, to the baker; community spirit saw them through thick and thin.

It’s all very hard to imagine now, driving down that same main road.

There’s still a community of course, but the whole stretch of A6 through Levenshulme lacks that pride my gran knew and loved.

Now a sea of pound shops, tatty takeaways and car congestion to rival a Los Angeles freeway, you don’t have to be in your 70s to see it’s not what it was or could be again if given half a chance.

Stockport Road, Levenshulme, 1952. Lynda's Great Uncle to the left, holding a banner during the Whit WalksStockport Road, Levenshulme, 1952. Lynda's great uncle to the left, holding a banner during the Whit Walks.

One such glimmer of hope for an area so woefully downtrodden is Trove.

Located opposite another diamond in the rough, Levenshulme Antiques Village, Trove, much like my gran, knows how to appreciate the simple things in life.

The cafe, owned by a husband and wife team, is independent right down to their spring water; Wenlock, which comes from another family business in Shropshire.

The TableThe TableSmall on the inside, you can see through to a bigger area at the back where the magic is made. Trove specialises in real bread and organic preserves made using seasonal and organic produce. That homely waft of fresh bread quickly detracts your attention from wondering where the hell you’re going to sit in a place so modest. But then you see the table.

As is so proudly stated on their website, Trove ‘is focused around a large table (made by Marcus and friend Matt) so that the people of Levenshulme can come and socialise and communicate. We love the idea that our neighbours can come to meet, talk and eat and new friendships could be made over a decent cup of coffee (or tea).’

Trove decor

The idea works.

My friend Thea and I began our lunch date alone but were quickly joined by other customers and it didn’t bother us one bit. It’s social without being contrived, and the coffee really is decent.

I actually ordered a hot chocolate (£2) while Thea sipped on her creamy looking flat white (£1.45). Low and behold, the hot chocolate was hot.

Drinks at Trove Shocked? If you’re a hot chocolate lover you might very well be. Trove is one of the only places I’ve reviewed to serve a hot chocolate that lives up to its name in both temperature and flavour. For some reason most cafes just can’t seem to get it right, but here they can and do.

Food wise, Trove’s menu plays to their strengths. They are, after all, good at all things bready, so sandwiches and variations on hot breakfasts work best. Thea went for the bacon, brie and black pepper with apple, plum and chilli chutney sandwich on sourdough bread (£4.10), while my eye was drawn to the black pudding potato cake, bacon and fried egg with tomato chutney breakfast (£5.50).

The sandwich was the stuff of Tupperware dreams. Imagine opening up your lunchbox at work to find this beast squaring up to you?

Sandwich at Trove

Thick, quality British bacon and creamy brie in soft sourdough, fresh off the baking stone, not just garnished but greatened by what Thea described as “a proper salad that actually tastes earthy.” There was only ever going to be one winner.

Breakfast at 2pm was no slap-dash 'All-day' second-thought-slop here.

Trove understands that the most important meal of the day doesn’t have to be when you wake up, nor does it have to be so bloody uninspired. It’s to that end they’ve come up with several of their own takes on breakfast, where quality and taste override quantity and haste.

The black pudding potato cake (see top image) was a stroke of genius. Anyone who shudders at the sight of black pudding could easily be swayed with it in this fine disguise.

A welcome mixture of fluffy and firm textures with bitterness from the leeks intertwined with the richness of the black pudding, it’s a wonder why more places don’t try this crafty little combo. A runny egg alongside more of that thick cut bacon and homemade tomato chutney, this is the first breakfast in a long time that hasn’t required salt, pepper or sauce of the HP or Heinz variety.

Bakers at heart, Trove also has plenty of cakes on display by the till. We went ahead and ordered the apple and almond cake before even knowing what it was, it looked that good. A slice of marble cake also made the mark.

 

Marble cake, Trove, LevenshulmeMarble cake

Both were faultless. Moist, light and diet-breakingly delicious. And so we sat, ate, digested, chatted and sat some more...

By gone 4.30pm it was time to leave and nearly time for Trove to close. Our delightfully easygoing waitress was sweeping up outside and hadn’t so much as paused to check her watch, never mind hurry us along.

Time had passed us by but within the sanctuary that is Trove, amid the commotion of the A6, we’d stood still. You see it’s not just about good food here, it’s a whole state of mind.

Next time, I’m bringing my gran.

Follow Lynda on Twitter @lyndamoyo

Trove, Levenshulme

ALL SCORED CONFIDENTIAL REVIEWS ARE IMPARTIAL AND PAID FOR BY THE MAGAZINE. 

Trove, 1032 Stockport Road, Levenshulme, M19 3EX. 0161 224 8588.

Rating: 16/20 (please read the scoring system in the box below, venues are rated against the best examples of their kind)
Food: 9/10 
Service: 4/5
Ambience: 3/5

PLEASE NOTE: Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20, we get carried away.

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41 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

IanAugust 21st 2013.

I should have tried here before Levenshulme market!

1 Response: Reply To This...
Hero
Penny CloustonAugust 22nd 2013.

Trove frequently have a stall at Levenshulme monthly market. Thwy'll propbably be there this Saturday.

Good GobbleAugust 21st 2013.

Hello there! Fantastic review of Trove. I am a resident of Levenshulme and think the place is great. Not only does it serve great food and drink, the owners are passionate lovely people which of course is tangible in the air when you go in. However I have to say I think you've been a bit heavy handed with your description of the A6!!! And referring to the area as "woefully downtrodden"?! ... Come on now!!! Are you trying to put people off coming to Levenshulme and trying the place you are reviewing!? Also while Trove is amazing, making out that it's the only "glimmer of hope" for an area so woeful is a bit of an exaggeration, not sure if you've noticed we have the best monthly market in Manchester?! You say "There's still a community of course" but I feel this has been a little underplayed, the community spirit in Levy is the best thing about the place. From the traders at the aforementioned market saying that Levy is the most friendly place they trade, to the lively "Levy Massive" Facebook group that is used by a huge number of residents to discuss local issues, to the friendly faces I've come to know after only one year of living here (more than I can say for any other area I've lived in anywhere else in the country), the community spirit your gran knew is still very much here. All the best, Jules

3 Responses: Reply To This...
IanAugust 21st 2013.

I went recently and it's not the best monthly market. Castlefield Market, similar size, is better and in a nicer setting.

HieronymousAugust 21st 2013.

You've been to the market Ian? You should have said.

Good GobbleAugust 22nd 2013.

Hi Ian, cheers for the reply, I possibly shouldn't have used the word 'best' as that's my personal opinion, however there's no denying that Levy Market is one of the most successful markets in Manchester. I am always overwhelmed talking to traders how many of them say it is their favourite market to trade at, that they do well at it and not only that but it's the friendliest! Possibly to do with the fact it's all a social enterprise and run independently of Manchester Markets by passionate residents who really care! There are a great range of stalls, for us of course the draw is the food with many of the Guerilla Eats lot doing the market but there's something for everyone. I would recommend to anyone reading this to to come and check it out!

Lynda MoyoAugust 21st 2013.

Thanks Jules. Appreciate your comment. The only thing I'd like to add is that I actually said Trove is 'one glimmer of hope' not the 'only' glimmer of hope. I didn't 'make out' there wasn't anything else. The Antiques Village alone keeps me returning to Levenshulme. However I do feel the area is lacking somewhat, which is a shame. All the best to you too. Lynda.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Good GobbleAugust 22nd 2013.

Cheers Lynda, apologies if I misinterpreted some of what you said. Hope you do come back to Levy soon and start to see some of the things myself and the others who've posted on here love about the place. Also, bring your gran for a mooch around the market! :)

AnonymousAugust 21st 2013.

Lovely looking and sounding venue. Just such as shame it's in Levenshulme. Why can't they move it to Chorlton? Or even the Northern Quarter Levenhulme's shanty-town appearance makes Cheetham Hill look like Hale Barns.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 21st 2013.

Because then we'd have to share it with snobs like you....

Good GobbleAugust 22nd 2013.

I actually think somewhere like Trove would do really well in Chorlton, for the ethically minded eater / shopper, however we're delighted to have it in Levenshulme and not Chorlton!

Lynda AnglinAugust 22nd 2013.

You've got enough places in Chorlton. What a snobby thing to say!! How rude!!

AnonymousAugust 23rd 2013.

Levenshulme a shanty town really! So many snobs around its not Chorlton and we don't want it to be .

TimbucAugust 27th 2013.

Ah yes, I don't know why they can't just move all the oiks out of Manchester and then everywhere could be like Chorlton and the Northern Quarter. What a charming place it would be then.

Kimberly MaceAugust 21st 2013.

I have lived in Levenshulme for 5 years and agree with Good Gobble that there are quite a few jems here, amid the 'sea of pound shops' (I think there are 2?) and 'tatty takeaways' (many of which are really excellent themselves - try the chilo kebab sandwich at Persian Tasty Grill). Post Office Deli on Albert Rd is another great place to go hang out with excellent deli/cafe food. And the Himalayas has really fantastic food and service. There's Inspire, now, with lots of community events, and dozens more local businesses and residents who really put a lot of effort into creating a sense of community pride. Have you seen the art project opposite Tesco? The list goes on and on... come back for the Levy market and make some new friends - I'm sure you will be converted! :-)

AnonymousAugust 21st 2013.

Nice to have Trove appreciated, but a very negative view of Levenshulme, which has great community spirit despite being one of the most deprived areas in the city. A lot of people work hard to promote the area and its businesses and it's disheartening to have that hard work belittled. Those who want hipster eateries can always go to Chorlton or NQ - we won't miss them.

HieronymousAugust 21st 2013.

Don't live in Levenshulme but lazily focusing on the negatives of an area of Manchester rather than the positives, of which there are many, doesn't seem to be Confidential's normal way of going about things. Also, I thought Confidential always avoided cliches: "[Breakfast is] the most important meal of the day."?

JeremyAugust 21st 2013.

A nice review but a shame it is marred by unnecessary Levy-bashing. The article says: "The picture [my Grandmother] still paints so vividly of those times, is one of both hardship and camaraderie. The community didn’t have much, but they had each other. From the butcher, to the greengrocer, to the baker; community spirit saw them through thick and thin." Yes, there is still hardship in Levenshulme as one of the more deprived areas of Manchester with social and economic challenges but there is also fantastic camaraderie. On a foody note the article has unintentional irony as the review is of Trove which is a fabulous artisan bakers (we also have Martins down the road). We have a marvellous greengrocer in Madina Superstore with great variety on the A6 and the great Village Stores just opposite the Baths. There is also a lovely local butchers in Johnsons, friendly and knowledgeable. Levenshulme boasts a revitalised monthly market that is buzzing with independent traders many of whom provide delicious food and drink and just off the A6 on Albert Road is the wonderful POD - a deli, restaurant and hub of community activity. We also have the Isis Cafe (with a great Thai/Irish mix of food) bang on the A6. Taking on the green theme we have a new Incredible Edible Levenshulme group just being set up (we actually met in Trove last week) to harness community action and build Levenshulme's environmental awareness and commitment. As if this wasn't enough Levenshulme people have just fought a long, high profile and very successful campaign to save our swimming pools and gym and our local library. These facilities will now stay open until 2015 when a new development combining swimming pools, a gym, a fitness/community room and a full library opens with £6.5m of council investment. Arcadia (our roller hockey/derby facility) will relocate only a few minutes walk away. And after our new library opens the existing library will continue as school facility and an outreach and adult learning centre in partnership with Levenshulme High School (the transition to joint school and community use starts this autumn). Levenshulme Community Association provides a focus for networking, ideas, projects and support across our community and we have an active Traders' Association working hard to improve and support businesses in Levenshulme. It is great to see a well deserved glowing review of Trove but be aware that community action, camaraderie, independent spirit and mutual support are very much in evidence in Levenshulme. Don't just rely on your Granny's memories - come and discover the real Levenshulme and all it has to offer now, Lynda. (By the way your website refuses to let me comment even when logged in and having tried through two different browsers.) www.manchesterconfidential.co.uk/…/Trove-Levenshulme-Reviewed…

2 Responses: Reply To This...
JeremyAugust 21st 2013.

I finally got your site to accept my comment. :-)

Good GobbleAugust 22nd 2013.

Well said Jeremy!

Stuart FearAugust 21st 2013.

Trove is indeed one of the gems that have popped up in Levenshulme in the last couple of years, but the description of its surroundings as "woefully downtrodden" suggests you must have visited an M19 in a parallel universe to mine. The A6 is a busy road and it will never scrub up in a way that, say, Didsbury has (thank goodness), but you don't even have to scratch the surface to find a vibrant community that is reversing the direction of circular travel from vicious to virtuous. As a journo I'd guess that a lot of MC staff spend a lot of time and effort looking for interesting and inspiring content so I'd urge you to take a closer look at Levy. This Saturday would be a good staring point for such a piece. Come to M19 and you will find a truly burgeoning social enterprise that reflects and, at the same time, is helping to drive a very real community regeneration of the area. There'll be 50 stalls at Levenshulme Market this week, double the number the people behind it thought they'd ever need when they took it over from Manchester Markets about a year ago. It's become way more than a market, though. It's more like a Roman forum, a place where the buying and selling, important as it is to many innovative and hard-working traders, is perhaps just the background to a priceless social event with the kind of X factor that would put Mary Portas's knickers in a twist. Wander around and you'll see people deep in conversation, friends catching up with friends and being introduced to new ones. That's just one of the inspiring things happening in Levenshulme. Ask any of the 800+ people in the Levy Massive FB group and they'll be able to give you many more examples. The place ain't perfect, there's too much litter for one thing and not enough contact between different groups within the community, but we're working on it. By the way, if she hasn't already, I'd recommend Lynda takes a stroll down her gran's street where she'll find the wonderful new entrance to a SEVENTY acre country park that rivals any green space in Mcr. Highfield is just one of the secrets that helped put Levy in a recent Sunday Times list of the top 10 "hip areas" in the UK. A bit scruffy maybe, "downtrodden" definitely not.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Brenda SmithAugust 22nd 2013.

Nice one Stuart - I've said me piece on Twitter!

Matthew RuthAugust 21st 2013.

Levenshulme may not be that pretty around the A6 but it is an amazing place to live and its confidence is bursting out - its washed its face - faced the sun - and said "Can I join the party?" We have some amazing architecture and History - take a stroll around West Points quiet back streets and fall in love with it like I did when i first came here We have fab deli's/cafe's (POD< Trove) and the Antiques Village for a lazy Sunday We have great culture (Bankley Mill plus ad hoc events like Flamenco & Comedy nights) We were recently selected as one of the Top Ten places to buy in the UK by The Sunday Times We have fab green spaces (Highfield Park is amazing, The Fallowfield Loop, Crossley Park etc) We have the monthly Market which is brill - plus the recent Food Festival and the Beer Festival and the Irish Festival (we like a party) We have skips on every street as young professionals, Families, and LGBT households move in because they've found a safe, well located area thats family friendly and has a buzz We are not "woefully downtrodden" - The A6 is our scar. We got this scar when we were attacked by Takeaways but beauty is more than skin deep. I moved up to Manchester from London and when i found Levy i knew I'd found home. Its one stop from Piccadilly - if it was London it would be Zone 1 - and yet its peaceful and has a wonderful village vibe In 5 years time people will look back and wonder why they didnt move to Levenshulme sooner. The bohemian vibe and great cheap houses may not last forever - you need to revisit and see our heart behind the scars - because its bursting with pride and its huge x ps Your Gran sounds fab - send her round for some tea and biscuits x

AnonymousAugust 22nd 2013.

Show me a bit of the A6 that *isn't* run down - Hazel Grove is just as scruffy as Leve. It's an arterial route, so it's never going to look like Beech Road! Levenshulme is a great place to live. Look how many come here as students because it was cheap and then stayed because they fell in love with it. It's 10 minutes from the motorway network (and the rest of the country) if you need to get anywhere, less than an hour from real countryside and yet, as Matthew said, 1 stop out from the centre of Britain's provincial capital. I can put up with a b it of scruffiness.

Mark GarnerAugust 22nd 2013.

Well, whatever the truth may be, the guys and girls in Levi certainly aren't shy or illiterate.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 22nd 2013.

*cough* correction. Levy

AnonymousAugust 22nd 2013.

Come on guys, let's call a spade a spade. Speaking as an ex-resident who moved out of the hood for good a few years ago due to the scary hit and run outside my house on Forest Range and being broken into once a year every year I lived there for 6 years, Levenshulme is a shit tip. It has a few redeeming features such as this place, the market, the butchers near the station, Bobby Dazzlers and POD. The area needs some TLC, and I applaud those who are trying to make the best of the area, but let's not go overboard pretending it's something that it's not...!

4 Responses: Reply To This...
JeremyAugust 22nd 2013.

Ironic that you think "Levenshulme is a shit tip" and "let's not go overboard pretending it's something that it's not...!" are mutually compatible statements.

AnonymousAugust 22nd 2013.

Whatevs Jezza. You're just annoyed you bought in Levvy and not Chorlton...

JeremyAugust 22nd 2013.

Hello "Anonymous". I do hope you are enjoying your current home and community as much as I (and it seems many others commenting here) are enjoying living in Levenshulme. Hopefully you don't think your current area is a "shit tip". I love the mix of people, the community spirt, the can-do approach, the commitment to improving our area and the lack of snide, snobbish attitudes that are obvious in Levenshulme. But maybe you think saying something like that about somewhere I love living is "going overboard". Don't throw us a life jacket, we're quite OK in Levenshulme, thanks and we're waving, not drowning.

HyperopianAugust 22nd 2013.

As someone who was born, raised, and educated in this area, I agree with Anonymous (and Lynda). Although the Fallowfield Loop is a local asset, whenever I went running through the Levenshulme section of the Loop towards Debdale Park, I hoped and prayed I wasn't mithered by youths on motorbikes (which, I regularly was). Running through Fallowfield towards the Chorlton end, I had absolutely no problems. The dividing line seemed to be Burnage Lane. Yes, there are magnificent properties on Errwood Road and Rushford Park conservation area (West Point, Levenshulme) is a hidden, little known gem but, as it stands, Levenshulme reminds me a lot of Chorlton before the bohemians moved in (circa 1980s). I lived here because I had no other choice. Like many others who grew up here, though, we got out as soon as we could. From what I'm noticing, however, Levenshulme is fast becoming the alternative for those who couldn't afford Chorlton. As for POD? Great concept and I hope it sticks around, but the food is decidedly average. It's not a patch on Trove. The market is a cracker, though, and well worth a visit. As a proud Mancunian (who always will be), I wish my former neighbourhood all the very best and genuinely hope it blooms, but I'm currently relocating to London (boo, hiss!). People change, life moves on.

soulman1949August 22nd 2013.

Ooh the market sounds brill. Where is it located? Is it in the square behind Albert Road near the railway viaduct?

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 22nd 2013.

The railway station car park which is where I think you are describing.

Good GobbleAugust 22nd 2013.

Yep rail station car park, come and enjoy!

soulman1949August 22nd 2013.

Brill, thanks!

brownAugust 22nd 2013.

TROVE do the most amazing weekend brunch menu which includes samphire & beautiful edible flowers.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Good GobbleAugust 22nd 2013.

Agreed, Trove is excellent. Feel like we've gotten waylaid by sticking up for Levy (which is great too!). Trove is a fabulous eatery which does brilliant food and the ethics behind the place (local produce, organic, inclusive of all dietary requirements) can't be beaten by many. No wonder anonymous poster wants to get one in Chorlton! Also they are up for an Food and Drink festival award so if you love Trove, vote for them!

Good GobbleAugust 22nd 2013.

foodanddrinkfestival.com/…/…

AnonymousAugust 22nd 2013.

Having just had lunch at Trove. My panzanella salad was excellent, as was my most gorgeous apple cake and coffee. I pop down to Levy from Heaton Moor for Trove and Pod as they a great alternative to what the Heatons have to offer. Stop the Levy bashing, if you bother to scratch beneath the surface (the A6) you'll be pleasantly surprised with what you will find. I know they've all been mentioned before but those little gems like Pod, Trove, the farmers market and your conservation area are fantastic. If I were a Levy resident I would keep quiet about Manchester's best kept secret!

mancadamAugust 22nd 2013.

having been a longtime resident of chorlton, i actually feel like moving to levy after reading this thread.

RebsAugust 22nd 2013.

I moved to Levvy 3 years ago and loved it so much I bought a house on the street I was renting in. I have to say that my street/neighbours are wonderful. We have our own Facebook group, community street parties and I've become really good friends with many of the ladies on my rd. The great thing about Levvy is if you want a local beer there is the bluebell or fiddlers green, if you want food there's Pod, Trove, Persian Tasty Grill, Himalayas or Jerk Junction... there's the Antiques Village and Levvy market for treasure, my all time favourite... the cycle path leading to Highfield Park and the urban farm/allotments and the organic food and plant shop opposite the swimming baths for when I'm gardening.... Also, a new orchard has just been planted on the cycle path near to my house and the boxing academy has opened in the cringle park... which I think is fab! Yes there are lots of things that could be better... but do you know what... With all that's good about Levvy and most importantly, because of the people of Levenshulme, I can't see myself moving to a little countryside retreat just yet x Long Live Levvy!!!

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